recipe: ice cream whopper dessert

July 9th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This is such an easy delicious dessert for a crowd.  I usually revisit this recipe in the summer when ice cream just seems to be the perfect ending to a barbecue.  This can also be made a few days ahead of time so when cooking for a crowd, it helps.  I have also used Butter Fingers instead of Whoppers… but I love the flavor of malt so this is my favorite candy to use.  But be creative… this is just so easy and sooo good!



• 12 ice cream sandwiches (2 boxes)
• 2 containers of Cool Whip
• 1 (milk) container of Whoppers
• 1 container of Whopper Chocolate Malt Syrup (or regular chocolate sauce)

• Using a 9”x11.5” glass dish, place ice cream sandwiches in bottom of dish.  See the pictures, as I usually have to cut a few to fit and cover the entire dish.

• Crush the Whoppers place in a plastic bag and crush.

• Defrost the Cool Whip.  Mix with ½ of the crushed Whoppers.

• Drizzle the sandwiches with the Whopper Chocolate Malt Syrup.

• Then smooth the Cool Whip over the ice cream sandwiches and sauce.

• Next sprinkle the crushed Whoppers on top of the Cool Whip and drizzle with more sauce.  Cover and freeze.

Serve and enjoy!!


I originally had this recipe at Martha’s house and loved it since then I have seen several versions and have continued to keep it in my summer dessert file.



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recipe: oatmeal cinnamon bread

May 17th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (1 Comments)

• 1-1/2 cups boiling water
• 1 cup rolled oats
• 3/4 cup molasses or honey
• 3 tablespoons soft butter
• 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
• 2 cups lukewarm water
• 8 cups flour, half whole wheat and half unbleached white
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons cinnamon


• Pour boiling water over oats and let stand 30 minutes.

• Add molasses and butter.

• Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add to oat mixture.

• Beat and work in enough of the flour to make a medium-soft dough.

• Turn onto floured board and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.

• Place dough in a clean buttered bowl, turn to butter the top.

• Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

• Turn onto a board and knead again.

• Mix together the cinnamon and sugar.

• Divide the dough into 3 pieces, roll each into a rectangle.

• Spread the cinnamon sugar mixture onto each.

• Roll each rectangle tightly like a jelly roll (cinnamon sugar mixture side in) and seal all the edges.

• Place into oiled loaf pans.

• Cover and let rise till doubled, about 45 mins.

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

• Bake the loaves 5 minutes; lower heat to 350 degrees and bake 40 minutes longer or until loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom.

• Brush top with butter.



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recipe: chocolate ganache cake

May 17th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

• ¼ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 cup sugar
• 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
• 16 oz can Hersey’s chocolate syrup
• 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• ½ cup heavy cream
• 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
• Raspberries or edible flowers for decoration (optional)


• Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

• Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.

• Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.

• Add eggs one at a time.

• Mix in the syrup and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined.  Don’t overbeat, or the cake will be tough.

• Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until just set in the middle.  Don’t overbake!  Let cool thoroughly in the pan.

• For the ganache, cook the heavy cream, chocolate chips, and instant coffee in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.

• Place the cake upside down on a wire rack and pour the glaze evenly over the top, making sure to cover the entire cake and sides.  You can tilt the rack to smooth the glaze.  Decorate with candied violets, if desired, or gently crumble the gold leaf and place it on the center of the cake.  Do not refrigerate.



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This is Ree Drummond’s recipe but I make it with two cakes, so I double the cake recipe (recipe doubled below).  My family loves this cake!


• 2 Sticks + 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened
• 3 cups Granulated Sugar
• 6 whole Large Eggs
• 1 cup Sour Cream, Room Temperature
• 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
• 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
• 6 Tablespoons Cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon Salt
• 2 teaspoons Baking Soda

• 2 pounds Strawberries, Hulled & Halved
• 6 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

• 12oz of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (1 1/2 packages), Room Temperature
• 3 sticks Unsalted Butter
• 2-1/4 lbs Powdered Sugar, Sifted
• 1-1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
• 1/4 teaspoon Salt



IMPORTANT: Be sure to use a cake pan that’s at least 2 inches deep! Before baking, the batter should not fill the pan more than halfway.

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.

• Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.

• Cream butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.

• Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.

• Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. Sprinkle each half with sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.

• Make icing: combine cream cheese, butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.

• Spread strawberries evenly over each cake, pouring on all the juices. Place cakes into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.

• Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining icing around the sides.

• Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.

IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, store in the fridge!



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How do you say thank you… and goodbye in the same breath?  I apologize for this post to those of you who really just want to read about food, flowers, and entertaining.   But food for me has always involved relationships and family.

I have learned that food, entertaining and the happiness it brings opens you up to new friendships and that is why we need to make sharing a meal with friends at our own tables a part of our lives.   I am fortunate to adore my clients… I really do enjoy working with and for them.  But there are a few people who seem to shine so brightly.  The friend and client I am speaking of had a combination of truth, kindness, brilliance, and she touched my life in a very special way.  And of course she was a dog lover like me.

I started cooking for this amazing woman who encouraged me to go down this path.  We started talking about her style, her favorite flavors and spices, the way she wanted to entertain, and the importance of enjoying her home and sharing her home with others.  This relationship morphed into weekly cooking and special diners for family and friends.  And then we became friends, good friends, and this is the gift that food gave me a wonderful, honest, caring, reciprocal friendship.  It was like an angel landed into my life because as much as I did for her she gave back to me in encouragement, honesty, laughter, and support.  I cannot say enough about how special Elizabeth Cheval was.

We never know where life will lead us, it is a journey and on the way if we meet one or two truly exceptional people how lucky are we.

If we can call them friends then we are even more fortunate.  So I am a very rich person because of “food”.  It has brought me these treasured friendships and it has warmed my soul when family gathers, and it has opened up roads for me yet to explore.

One of Liz’s favorite guilty pleasures were my Brownies.  She would call me to make a batch to bring to the office for a special meeting or to bring as her dessert addition to a friend’s home for an evening… or just the need to have a few in the freezer to sneak and enjoy when she needed a bit of sweetness in her life!   I am reworking them as “Liz’s Best Turtle Brownies”.  I will forever think of her when I make them.  Thank you Liz for your inspiration!

I use this brownie recipe, placing ½ of the brownie mixture into the pan.  I make homemade Carmel sauce.  The recipe is Ina Garten’s and referenced below.  I put about ½ cup of pecan halves on the brownie mixture. Then I pour ½ cup of the Carmel sauce on top. Next I spread the rest of the brownie mixture on top and bake.  The final step is to place in fridge for an hour cut and serve!



RECIPE: Caramel Sauce


• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 1/3 cup water
• 1 ¼ cups heavy cream
• ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract


• Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.

• Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir.

• Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot! Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly.

• Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. Don’t worry – the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.

• Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits.



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recipe: rhubarb crisps

March 29th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

It’s spring I think!  It’s lighter out longer, the sun seems to be shining a bit more, and temps are in the 40’s… so I’m thinking it’s spring.  When I think of Spring I think of Rhubarb in any dessert.  I saw the gorgeous red stalks and I had to make something.  So I decided to clean it and slice it, toss sugar, flour, and cinnamon on it, then fill some ramekins.  I was out of oatmeal in bulk but I did have packs of instant oatmeal so I used the 3 maple flavored oatmeal packs, ¼ stick of butter, ¾ cup of flour, and 1/3 cup of brown sugar to make my crisp.  I mixed those ingredients together and pressed them on top of the rhubarb.  I baked them for ½ hour at 350º (remember to preheat your oven).   Place them on a lined cookie sheet as the delicious fruit does boil over.  I would add rhubarb to bread or just sauté it and use over ice cream or yogurt.

If you see it at the store pick some up and get creative.



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recipe: crepes

March 28th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I’m a crepe fan… if you are from Chicago and remember the restaurant “Magic Pan”; it was one of my favorites.  I used to meet my husband there once a week for a savory crepe, but really always wanting the sweet dessert crepes.  I haven’t made crepes in a along time maybe because its not easy forming those perfect crepes in my own magic pan.  I found this “White Toque” brand Organic Crepes already made and decided to revisit an old favorite.

They are delicious and easy, I suggest you try them and have fun making up your own filling!



• 1 lb sliced mushrooms white or cremini
• ½ lb sliced shiitake mushrooms
• 2 tablespoons of butter
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 shallots, minced
• Kosher salt & pepper
• ½ cup white wine
• ½ cup heavy whipping cream

• Melt butter in a heavy sauté pan add mushrooms, garlic, and shallots. Sauté till mushrooms are cooked. Add Salt & pepper to taste.

• Add wine and sauté for another 2-3 minutes to reduce, then add cream and heat through.  Your filling is ready, set aside and make crepes filling with mixture and spoon on top.


This brand “white toque authentic organic French crepes” is a great choice if you don’t have time to make your own.  They’re easy and delicious.

I also add sautéed chicken or beef to the mushroom mixture for a heartier meal. Dessert crepes are another option just adding fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar!




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recipe: chocolate dipped brickle cookies

February 22nd, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts - (0 Comments)

Here is the recipe for the  cookies I made on the trip up north with the girls.  They travel well and are delicious!


• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs
• 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
• 1-1/3 cups (8-oz. pkg.) Heath® Bits ‘O Brickle™ Toffee Bits
• 1-½ cups Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Mini Kisses
• 2 Tablespoons Shortening


• Heat oven to 350˚F.  Lightly grease cookie sheet.

• Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until blended.  Add eggs; beat well.  Stir together flour, baking soda and cream or tartar; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended.  Stir in toffee bits.

• Drop by heaping teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheet.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool slightly; remove to wire rack.  Cool completely.

• Put the Mini Kisses and shortening into a bowl and microwave for 1 minute or until melted.

• Mix well and dip 1/3 of each cooked cookie in the chocolate mixture.

• Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and put in fridge so chocolate hardens.

• Store in cool airtight container.  Enjoy!



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I have made these luscious brownie bite cookies without filling and cut out in many different shapes.  The recipe was from the blog cookbook by Deb Perlman “The Smitten Kitchen”.  Since Valentines Day is approaching I cut out hearts.  Then I noticed the cover of Martha Stewart magazine covered in a variety of colorful sandwich cookies.  I took the brownie cookie recipe and filled them with Martha’s cream filling.  It’s a wonderful treat to make for family or to drop off for friends.  Enjoy!


• 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for counter
• 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
• ¾ teaspoon table salt
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• 16 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla


• Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl, and set aside.

• Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy.

• Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl.  Mix in vanilla.  Gradually mix in the dry ingredients.

• Wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 1 hour.

• Roll out the cookie dough on a floured counter.  Cut into desires shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top.  (It does disappear once baked, though; so don’t overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.)


• Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies), until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.

• Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


• ½ stick unsalted butter, softened
• 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk, if needed


• Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

• Reduce speed to low, and gradually add sugars, beating until thoroughly combined.

• Beat in vanilla.

• If filling is too thick to spread, beat in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until spreadable.

• Build the sandwiches with one cookie on bottom, cream filling in the middle, and another cookie on top.


NOTE: You can sprinkle powdered sugar on cookies or just leave them as is.  If you make a big batch you can always wrap a few up for gifts!



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recipe: sugar cookie cut out cookies

January 5th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This is the cut out cookie recipe I have used for years.  I cannot remember where or when I came across this but it is the best I have found.  I use it for Valentine cookies, Easter, fall leaves, really any holiday or special event cutout cookie.


• 2 sticks unsalted butter
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 1 tablespoon buttermilk or cream

• 3 cups of flour
• 3/4 tsp of baking powder
• Dash of salt


• Cream the first five ingredients together.

• Add the flour, baking powder and salt and form into two discs.

• Wrap in cellophane and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

• After dough has been chilled, roll out onto a floured surface and place on cookie sheet into a preheated oven of 350 degrees, for 8-10 minutes.

• Let cool and Frost.


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